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  • Writer's pictureJamie Bass

What is the Bagua: Part 2

© Feng Shui Institute of America

“Every aspect of our environment carries symbolic meaning and has an effect on us whether we are aware of them or not.” – Jennifer Dent

Now that you've had an introduction to what the bagua is, I bet you're really curious to learn more about each section, aka where the magic happens (I know I was!). Read below to learn what each section of the bagua represents.


The Self section has to do with who you are as a person and what you’ve chosen to do with your life. It’s more than just your career, though. This area relates to what your life’s purpose is and should make clear what you value and place importance on. It’s about self-expression and the journey through which you are pursuing self-actualization. When you think of this area, stay in the present and what is instead of aspirations and goals: it’s opposite is Future and we move from the present to the future.


The Compassion section of the bagua asks what we can give to others. It is about showing consideration for the feelings of others. The Compassion section is on the right side of the bagua because 90% of the world is right-handed and it is common to feel vulnerable when entering a new space. This section is all about “what you sow, you reap”: if we show respect and care for others, the same courtesy will someday be shown to us. We can show compassion for others by providing something for them to rest or lean on in this area.


The Descendants section represents the legacy that you leave behind. This can be in the form of children or it can be what we have built or created. Any special talents or gifts we bestowed upon the world or lives we touched in important ways are also considered part of our legacy. This area should be fun and imaginative! It represents children, creativity, hobbies, or mementos of projects, whether personal or professional, that we birthed into the world.


The Relationship section has to do with all the important relationships in our lives, whether romantic or platonic. It is about the deep bonds that we share with people, whether they are spouses or lovers, business partners, or long-standing friends. This section is on the right side of the bagua because extending the right hand is an almost universal gesture of friendship, openness, and receptivity. Since other sections of the bagua focus on family relationships and children, keep the focus in this area on romantic or professional relationships and friendships.


The Future section is always found at the farthest point from the Self section. This section deals with your desires and what you wish for yourself. Since it’s very clearly about what we hope to achieve in the future, its focus is on our goals and aspirations. It relates to the Self section since our bright future stems from present convictions, beliefs, and actions.


The Empowerment section focuses on how much power we feel we have in life. The more empowered we are, the more we will achieve and reach our full potential. This area is traditionally known as the wealth corner, but prosperity comes in many different forms aside from financial success, including fortunate blessings, professional achievements, influence, fame, and security. The Empowerment section is placed in the far left corner because it's from this place that we feel the most safe: in this position, we have the most time to react to anything or anyone else entering the room, and this gives us added power.


The Community section represents our support systems and networks. It comprises anyone who has passed down wisdom and guidance to us or anyone who we rely on for leadership, strength, and direction. This section represents the broader concept of "people in our lives," whether it is parents, aunts, uncles, or even the leaders of political, social, religious, and cultural communities that we identify with. It is more fluid than only family, and in today’s world, we often assemble our own families comprised of people who are not necessarily biologically related to us. This section is centered on the left side because, although important, it is not as essential as the individuals we form relationships with in the Relationship and Descendants sections.


The wisdom section represents an inner strength and knowing as well as personal development. It is about more than just acquiring knowledge; it is about learning and embodying life’s lessons. We need wisdom to improve ourselves and inform our relationships with others. In feng shui, wisdom should not only improve the mind, but also the body, spirit, and heart.


The Health section is the only area that touches all of the other sections, connecting them together. Without health, it’s very hard to achieve an optimal experience in any area. Our ability to function is central to all experiences and greatly affects whether and how we benefit from life. The center of a physical area, whether it’s a room or a house, is important to expressing the health of those who inhabit it.

An important point to note about symbols in general and the symbols you might use in each section: the bagua only works if you use symbols, accessories, and decorations that are meaningful to YOU and reflect your tastes, history, and preferences. Don’t use a Warren Buffet quote in your Empowerment section if that doesn’t inspire or motivate you. Using symbols that have personal significance to you will be more influential than anything else.

But, wait, there's more! Read Part 3 to learn more about how this all works in your space.


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